Budgie buddies

Budgies are the most popular birds in Irish households. They are not difficult to keep, are very sociable, tame and quick to learn. The experts from Maxi Zoo explain what bird lovers should observe when keeping these little parrots.

No matter where you find a budgie in Europe, its ancestors are sure to have come from Australia, where the wild varieties still live today. A British ornithologist brought the first budgerigars back from Australia in the 19th century. Because of the wave pattern on their wings, he named them Melopsittacus undulatus – melodious parrot with wave patterns. The name budgerigar is said to probably be a misrepresentation of the Kamilaroi (Aboriginal language of southeast Australia) word gijirrigaa.

In the wild most budgies gather in flocks. In groups comprising of thousands of individuals they protect themselves from attacks by larger birds of prey. The nomadic birds travel across the Australian continent, unfazed by large distances. Their destination lies in regions where water and green grass are in abundance after rainfall. Here they find enough to drink as well as grass seed as basic food. They find protection from the sun in treetops where they also spend the nights – perfectly camouflaged thanks to their green and yellow colouring.

A piece of the wilderness in your living room

The most important rules for caring for budgies living in cages can be derived from their life in the wild. Firstly they need contemporaries otherwise they will waste away – another species of parrot, a plastic bird or even a mirror is not enough. They should be allowed to have freedom of flight everyday and require a cage that has enough room for at least short flights so as to stretch the wings. Two – four birds need a cage at least 120 x 60 x 100 cm (L x W x H). The best combinations are a male/female couple or a male/male couple. The males are noticeable by their blue cere (the area containing the nostrils) while females have a beige coloured cere.

Bird lovers should also note that water is the elixir of life for these social birds. They don’t need it just for drinking but also for bathing in; you can buy special bathhouses for this purpose that can be hung on the cage door. As birds can not fly so far within the cage they need lots of climbing options such as ladders, ropes and twigs, which also act as perches. Drinking bottles and food dishes should be cleaned and refilled daily. The sand in the bottom of the cage should be replaced once a week.

Their relationship with people

Budgerigars can become very tame and trustworthy and many even imitate speech. They like attention and your voice will usually be well remembered by them. The little birds like to play around with their owner, plucking at fingers or earlobes or cheering you up with their song. Due to their ease of care and their charm, budgerigars are suitable for all ages. If you make it their job to change the food or the sand, even primary school aged children can learn responsibility from having a budgie as a pet.

Call into your local store today to discuss your bird’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.